Perhaps more than any other American city, the sleepy town of Watford City, N.D., experienced an influx of new residents from a recent shale oil boom that increased its need for housing almost overnight. 

Watford City’s population jumped from 1,400 six years ago to more than 10,000 today, according to an article in the Atlantic. Due to the lack of housing, many newly arrived workers are sharing small RVs or campsites. 

Troy, Tx.-based modular builder Aries Building Systems is helping to alleviate the shortage. It expects to complete construction of 18 affordable three-bedroom, cabin-style single-family homes in the town. Family members, including children, are welcome in the community. The company also operates a short-term or extended-stay housing facility with 104 one- and two-bedroom units. The fully furnished accommodations have kitchens, and weekly cleaning services are available. Additionally, there is access to a gym, recreation area, and business center. 

Aries Building Systems is a subsidiary of Reliant Asset Management, which was ranked number 3 on the 2014 Inc. 5000Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. The company owns and leases 5,000 modular buildings across 43 states and Canada. 

BUILDER magazine talked with Barry and Michael Roman, co-founders of Reliant Asset Management, about the growth of workforce housing. 

What types of workforce housing do you provide and where?
Aries Building Systems is a full-service provider of modular workforce housing with a focus on remote labor industries. Our turnkey capabilities consist of designing, manufacturing, transporting, and managing housing for any size workforce. Accommodations include cold and warm climate camps, remote lodges, and drill camps with facilities that range from dormitories to hotel style living and multi-family units. Additionally, our oil field/rig work often involves providing crew quarters, tool pusher facilities, and change house buildings to name a few.   

Depending on the client’s needs, we also offer everything from dining and laundry facilities to entertainment and recreation centers. Our workforce housing, workforce management services, and turnkey mancamps can be found in the United States including North Dakota and Texas, as well as in Alberta, Canada. 

Is the need for workforce housing increasing?
There continues to be strong demand for workforce housing from the Liquefied Natural Gas (“LNG”) development sector especially in Louisiana and Oregon. Additionally, we are seeing strong opportunities with mining and remote manufacturing throughout the West.   

Overall, the commercial modular building industry is growing rapidly as the U.S. economy continues to recover and generate jobs in the education, healthcare, and government sectors.   

What do you keep in mind when designing workforce housing?
Aries Building Systems designs modular workforce housing based on space efficiency and expansion capabilities. Buildings are tailored to each project’s requirements and viewed through a lens of timing, cost, and quality. Our clients generally need to move quickly, and modular construction allows them to reduce traditional construction time – as well as cost – by 50 percent. That said, our structures are designed and built to meet or exceed the codes and standards of on-site construction, and use the same materials – wood, concrete, and steel – as traditional buildings.  

Regardless of the size of the project, we focus on designing and assembling comfortable, well-appointed accommodations in a quick and cost-effective manner that can be delivered to a site completely equipped, prepared for utility connections, and ready for occupancy.